Bloemfontein Celtic lose their most dedicated supporter

Michael Tlhakudi

Michael Tlhakudi

Flamboyant Petrus "Bishop" Motsieloa, the number one supporter of Bloemfontein Celtic, was passionate about soccer.

Born and bred in Bloemfontein, Motsieloa started his journey as a soccer fan at Sehunelo High School where he completed his matric. It was there that Bishop, as he was affectionately known, used to lead fellow pupils in song at every game the school played.

Born in 1969 in Bochabela township in Bloemfontein, Motsieloa was unable to further his studies after matric because of financial constraints. In 1994 he got a job as a barman at the Protea Hotel in Bloemfontein, where he worked until his death on December 20.

Wherever Celtic went, Motsieloa was always there, very vocal in leading popular songs for the Siwelele. His close friends said he would have died for Phunya Selesele had the need arisen.

One of the highlights in his life was receiving on behalf of Celtic's supporters the award recognising them as the best supporters in the Premier Soccer League.

His sister, Kinny Motsieloa, said he was delighted with the award when he got home.

"He told us that he was content serving the team that he dearly loved.

"Everything was about Celtic for him. We used to fight at times because he would take the last cent to go and watch his favourite team."

She recalled when Celtic was defeated by Free State Stars in a league encounter last season.

"He came home and burst into tears. We all realised how much he loved his team."

She said one of the saddest moments in her brother's life was when Celtic was relegated.

"He kept on talking about how his team was robbed of a place in the elite league."

But Motsieloa's happiest time was three years ago when Celtic reclaimed their position in top-flight football.

"He could not hide his excitement for weeks," said Kinny.

And when Celtic beat SuperSport United in the Supa 8 Cup, he was over the moon.

He was nicknamed Bishop because, carrying a Bible around the stadium and praying for Celtic to win at every match, his gear resembled that of a priest.

Motsieloa is survived by two sisters, Kinny and Masondo.

He will be buried on Sunday in Bloemfontein.

The service starts at 9am at Paradise Hall.